Finland 8-0 San Marino
Mikael Forssell weighed in with a hat-trick as Finland recorded their biggest win in competitive football – and finally collected their first Group E points.
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Finland defeated San Marino 8-0 to record both their biggest win in a competitive international and their first points in Group E.
Although Finland only had Mika Väyrynen's goal to show for their first-half efforts, they were far more clinical in a second period. Mikael Forssell struck a hat-trick, Kasper Hämäläinen scored twice and substitutes Roni Porokara and Jari Litmanen, 39, also found the net as the hosts trumped their previous widest margin of victory, a 7-1 success against Luxembourg during FIFA World Cup qualifying in September 1976.
The freezing conditions in Helsinki were always likely to favour the home side, and they started brightly with San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini having to be alert to deny Forssell and Väyrynen early on.
The visitors took time to settle, yet did well to hold out until the 39th minute when Hämäläinen found Väyrynen who took a touch before placing the ball in the corner of the net. Hämäläinen headed his first international goal four minutes after the restart and by the time he added his second 18 minutes later, Forssell was two-thirds of the way towards collecting the match ball.
Both Litmanen, with a penalty, and Porokara found the net before Forssell completed his treble – and a burst of seven goals within half an hour – to ensure a winning start for stand-in coach Olli Huttunen. Both teams return to EURO action on 3 June 2011 when San Marino host the return fixture.